FREDERICTON– The maker of the “world’s most dangerous dress shirts” has joined what some may call a dangerous industry: retail.
Jeff Alpaugh of Jeff Alpaugh Custom has opened a retail location on Queen Street in downtown Fredericton. The store serves as a place for customers to get measured for their custom shirts as well as the company’s office. It will have its grand opening on June 17.
Alpaugh says they decided to get their own location after experiencing success with a pop-up location.
“We had a pop-up store at Christmas time, and we thought ‘wow this could be really risky,’ ” he says. “But it was massively successful. It kind of told us that a lot of people would come in and get this if there was a store that was credible and all that.”
Alpaugh is the founder and owner of Jeff Alpaugh Custom. The business offers custom dress shirts made from patterns and fabrics you won’t find at your local Moore’s. The shirts are bold, not tacky Hawaiian shirt bold, but there is no doubt you need to have a certain degree of confidence and swag to properly execute.
The new location is at 649 Queen St, above Isaac’s Way restaurant in a historical old courthouse. Though being upstairs would be detrimental for most retail businesses, Alpaugh says the space with its “classy but dangerous” aesthetic was exactly what they company was looking for.
“For us, it’s really important to have something on the second floor because we do everything by appointment. It’s a custom product, but it’s also a custom experience,” he says. “When somebody comes in, I want to get to know them. I want to help them design their shirt. I can’t have like 10 people popping in off the street being like ‘what’s this?'”
Though Alpaugh says they do sell a very limited number of shirts in standard sizes for those needed to get “dangerous” on the fly, they plan to keep the location low-key.
“I don’t even have a sign outside … It’s kinda like the speakeasy of dress shirts,” he says. Those who know about us know about us and those who don’t, don’t. The type of people who are interested in it, they’re going to find out about it.”
Before having a permanent HQ, Alpaugh would often run the business out of his home. He says finally having its own location is a huge milestone.
“It definitely lends a lot of credibility when you’re talking to people who are potential investors who come over to visit and when you’re talking to other folks. I think when you’re first starting, you’re only worried about targeting the very early adopter,” he says. “It’s different for every business, but once you break the thousand mark, then you need to open up the floodgates a little bit more to the mainstream buyer and that person they probably don’t want to go your home.”